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Football '85Thursday, September 1 2, 1 9857
'5 sesiSdDnn ImIss Mr a
By KIMBALL CROSSLEY
I know youVe probably read about 1 00
' NFL previews already, after all, Playboy's
and ' Penthouse's . came in their Madonna
issues and it's customary now for every
publication in the world short of Paris Match
to have onej and you're probably going to
read 100 more at least until one picks your
favorite team to win the Super Bowl.
But, I hope the comments here will be
totally original, while at the same time beings
just as accurate and well thought-out as any
of the other previews (I read 'em too, you
know. And is Madonna a sleaze-bucket, or
Please keep in mind, too, that I dont have
a lot of space here to totally evaluate an
entire team's upcoming season. So if I don't
mention Walter Payton, it's not because I'm
unaware of how important he is to the Bears,
but rather, I'm aware of how obvious and
unnecessary that is to point out.
Well, that being said, I think you are in
the right frame of mind for my picks and
comments. But, before I go to them, I'd like
to go on record as saying that the NFL, with
the USFL in at least an 18-month coma,
is booming again, and competition for the
paltry 10 playoff berths should be heated.
Miami (11-5): I really wanted to be the
only prognosticator in the free world to not
pick Miami and San Francisco to win their
divisions, and thereby to gain some notoriety,
but I chickened out. Both teams' offensive
numbers were just too phenomenal. I think,
though, that the real Miami heroes are not
Mr. "Quick Release" and the Marks Brothers
but that offensive line that only let up 14
sacks. Here's to Stephenson, Newman,
Giesler, Green and Foster. Dear Bill A., I
miss you Don and his pathetic defense.
New York Jets (10-6): Football is the
hardest sport to be objective about because
nobody, even the experts, really knows
what's going on out there on the field.
Besides, the Jets have a new defensive
coordinator, Bud Carson, who's a genius and
is going to exploit Mark Gastineau's talents
like you wouldn't believe.
New England (8-8): Being an NFL coach
is not a popularity contest. Last year the
Pats fired Ron Meyer, their best coach ever
by winning percentage, because he didnt get
along with his players. That's a mistake in
Buffalo (5-1 1): What's in a name? The Bills
will never win with a head coach and an
assistant named Kay, and half of the
quarterbacks in the NFL with the letter F
in their names.
Indianapolis (4-12): This team keeps
releasing its best defensive players,
Cincinnati (10-6): The Bengals should win "
this weak but improving division if their
defense holds up, because their offense with
the addition of Eddie Brown is going to be
Pittsburgh (9-7): Chuck Noll knows that
if you always beat up your opponent you're
going to win more than you lose.
Cleveland (6-10): I like Kosar, but he needs
some help, and I just don't know about
Marty "special teams are the key to winning ;
in the NFL" Schottenheimer.
Houston (4-12): Is it good or bad when
a terrible defensive team cuts its only known
Los Angeles Raiders (11-5): I'm finally
getting used to calling them the LA Raiders,
sort of. This is an awesome franchise that
should win another division title as long
as Marc Wilson starts at quarterback.
Seattle (10-6): I love Chuck Knox, and
picked Seattle to make the playoffs last year
even after Warner's injury, but come on, it
seems like everybody thinks they're a
powerhouse now. They got a lot of breaks
last year that just might reverse themselves.
Denver (9-7): Like Seattle, I expect the
Broncos to actually have a better team this
year with worse luck.
Kansas City (7-9): They have a great
starting defensive line with Bell, Maas and
Still, and Ethan Horton should help at
running back, but I still dont know who
John Mackovic married to get this job.
San Diego (5-11): I think coach Don
Coryell is so burnt out by all those years
of NFL coaching that he doesn't even know
. NFC EAST:
Dallas (12-4): Their offense suffered last
year with the incredible run of injuries to
the offensive line and the poor handling of
the QB situation, but their defense came back
strong last year. My bet is that the O will
return with stability at QB and Dallas will
be on their way to SB XX.
St. Louis (10-6): A real good young team
that has climbed steadily, but depth might
be a problem and, of course, there's always
Washington (10-6): George Rogers has to
help because Riggins plays every game with
one foot in his grave, but they shouldn't have
traded Charlie Brown. They also lack depth,
and Joe Theismann is too old to get through
the season injury-free.
New York Giants (9-7): The Phil Simms
Show, with apologies to Lawrence Taylor.
Will the Giants ever be able to run the ball?
If they ever do theyH be great.
Philadelphia (5-11): The poor Eagles are
a couple of years away, but I like their new
owner's tough stand on not renegotiating
Chicago (11-5): Coach Mike Ditka looks
about ready to join the Shulas, Nolls,
Walshes, Gibbses, Stephensons, Mackovics
(WHOOPS! Sorry, Kay and John, you
shouldn't be in there), and Landrys at the
top of his profession. He also looks a lot
like Burt Reynolds. Big year for Jim
McMahon. Walter Payton (Just had to
Green Bay (9-7): Coach Forrest Gregg
knows what he's doing. He's mean. He snarls
oh the sidelines. The Packers keep throwing
poor old and battered Lynn Dickey out there
and he keeps doing the job. One day he's
not going to come back.
Tampa Bay (6-10): How much will
Leeman Bennett teach us about John
Detroit (5-11): I would have stuck with
Monte Clark. Who's Darryl Rogers? Imagine
having to chose between crazyman Eric
Hippie and battle-worn Joe Ferguson as your
starting QB. Punt.
Minnesota (4-12): I can't believe that Bud
Grant's return was the best pre-season story
the reporters could dig up, but boy were there
a lot of articles" on the subject. How about
the old practical joke Bud pulled on poor
Les Steckel; Bud took his year off at just
' the right time and now the team can only
Q: : ' - " NFC WEST:
San Francisco (12-4): The only way this
team will have a bad season is if Joe "Barry
Manilow" Montana gets injured, which just
'. might happen because he's overdue, but even
then I'm not so sure.
Los Angeles Rams (9-7): John Robinson
showed me last year that you can pretty much
run, run, run to the playoffs in the NFL,
and with his quarterbacks hell have to show
us again. v r .
New Orleans (8-8): You know, maybe just
when you start thinking Coach Phillips really
is a Bum hell show you otherwise. Then
again, have you ever seen a team spend so
much money, time and resources (draft
picks) into acquiring so many hopelessly
mediocre quarterbacks? Has Earl Campbell
turned into a fat tub of goo?
Atlanta (5-1 1): Is Joe Washington the
answer? I just don't think coach Dan
Henning knows what he's doing.
As for the playoffs, in the AFC Miami
will lose as a Reggie Roby punt travels one
mile straight up, the Bengals will lose because
their coach is a little too Wychey-washy, the
Seahawks will lose on interceptions and
fumbles being returned on them for touch
downs, and the Raiders will lose to the Jets
because they always lose to the Jets in the
In the NFC, the Cards will lose on a
O'Donoghue missed 34-yarder, the Redskins
will lose on a Jay Schroeder interception,
the 49ers on a Wendell Tyler fumble, and
the Bears will lose to the Cowboys in a war
after which teary-eyed Ditka and Tom
Landry will hug each other.
My crystal ball has run out and I'm having
trouble seeing the outcome of Super Bowl
XX, but my heart says it's green.
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